Fire service workers protest lack of functional equipment in Rivers
Workers of the Rivers State Fire Service Board have staged a peaceful protest against what they described as absolute lack of fire fighting equipment and essential facilities in the station.
The aggrieved workers lamented that the three fire service station across the State, has no functional fire fighting equipment, regretting that even its Headquarters behind Isaac Boro Park, in Port Harcourt Metropolis has no speck of useful equipment.
The protesters who marched from the Headquarters of Fire Service Station, pointed out that people have been making distress calls to them for the past one month, but they could not respond to the calls due to lack of facilities to work with.
The workers regretted that they have been subjected to work under a very callous conditions for long as their calls to the relevant authorities to address the lapses has fallen on deaf ears.
Some of the inscriptions on the placards displayed by the protesters include; “we need functional equipment, we are tired of working without tools, trucks, Government hear our pleas” among others.
According to the spokesman of the protesters who did not give out his name, “We, the workers of Fire Service in Rivers State decided to march through the streets today because we have been dying in silence, for long, we have no equipment to work with, it is only one truck but since one month now, the available truck has also broken down, there is no single functional facility, equipment in our stations across the State to work with”
“People have been calling us since December when fire incidents were on the increase but we could not respond to the distress call due to lack of equipment to work with, because even when you go there and the people notice, there is no equipment to fight the fire, they stone us, they people fight us”.
Reacting to the development however, the State Commissioner for Special Duties, Emeka Onovu said, claims by the protesters that there are no fire fighting equipments was false. He noted that the State Government under Governor Nyesom Wike has been providing the necessary fire equipment for the State Fire service.
“I don’t know how and where the protest is coming from but I am the Commissioner for Special Duties and I can attest that facilities and equipment for fire service has always been provided,” said Onovu.
It would be recalled that, several houses, properties have been razed down by fire across the state without any help from the state fire service station.
When The Guardian visited the station recently, over ten trucks were sighted there, but findings revealed that only one tanker with an NDDC sticker was functional whereas, in normal circumstance, the station suppose to have at least six functional trucks in its head office with at least seven to eight sub- stations across the state.
Other trucks sighted have been abandoned for a long time due to lack of maintenance, the tires have gone flat, others had engine problem, gearbox challenges, bodywork among others.
However, non-availability of fire trucks is not just the challenge of the station, it was observed that there is no electricity and water in the station; hence the lapses in responding to peoples’ distress calls on fire incidents.
It was also discovered that, the sub-stations at Borokiri, Rumuodumanya and Ahoada does not have any appliances and functional equipment.
Further findings revealed that the challenge has made the job of the fire fighters in the State to be very difficult and painful towards responding to the numerous fire incidents across the state.
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